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Song Exploder

Song Exploder

Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode features an artist discussing a song of theirs, breaking down the sounds and ideas that went into the writing and recording. Hosted and produced by Hrishikesh Hirway.

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Sasha Sloan - Until It Happens To You

Sasha Sloan is a singer and songwriter based in Nashville. She put out her debut album, Only Child, last year. Before that, she?d written songs for artists like Katy Perry, John Legend, and Charli XCX, and she?s been a featured guest vocalist on songs by electronic artists Odesza and Kygo. Sasha made her album with her boyfriend, producer Henry Allen, aka King Henry, whose other production credits include songs by Beyoncé and Diplo. In this episode, Sasha, along with Henry, tells the story of making her song "Until It Happens to You."

For more, visit songexploder.net/sasha-sloan.

2021-02-24
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PJ Morton - Say So (feat. JoJo)

PJ Morton is a singer, songwriter, and producer. He?s the first artist ever to be nominated for a Grammy for the Best R&B album three years in a row. In 2020, he won the Grammy for Best R&B song for his track, "Say So," which is a duet with the singer JoJo, a platinum-selling artist in her own right. But that version of "Say So" almost didn?t come to exist. In this episode, PJ takes us through his original voice memos, the demos, and the isolated pieces of the final studio recording, as he tells the story of how the track was created, then disappeared, and then got re-created?and ended up becoming one of his biggest songs.

For more, visit songexploder.net/pj-morton.

2021-02-10
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HAIM - Summer Girl

HAIM is a band from Los Angeles, made up of the sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim. They?ve released three albums, and they?ve been nominated for three Grammys. Over the years, they?ve worked extensively with Grammy-winning producer Ariel Rechtshaid. Danielle and Ariel share the emotional backstory of the song ?Summer Girl,? from HAIM?s third album, Women in Music Pt. III. In this episode, they break down their experience creating the song, along with Este Haim and the song?s co-producer and co-writer Rostam.

For more, visit songexploder.net/haim.

2021-01-27
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Yusuf / Cat Stevens - Father and Son

The legendary singer/songwriter Yusuf / Cat Stevens released his first album in 1967. He?s a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and his albums have sold millions. In 2020, he released Tea for the Tillerman², a re-imagining of his hit 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman. In the song ?Father & Son,? he sings a duet between the two title characters, doing both voices. But in the 2020 version, he approached this song in a kind of astonishing way?he recorded the part of the father, but for the part of the son, he used a live recording of himself from 1970, taken from a show he played at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. So the two parts are still both sung in his voice, but 50 years apart. In this episode, the 200th episode of Song Exploder, Yusuf / Cat Stevens tells the story of how he created, and then re-created ?Father & Son.?

For more, visit songexploder.net/yusuf-cat-stevens.

2021-01-13
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Common - A Riot In My Mind

Common is a Grammy- and Oscar-winning rapper, actor, and activist from Chicago. He?s been making records since 1992, and in October, he released his thirteenth album, A Beautiful Revolution. In this episode, he breaks down how he made the song ?A Riot In My Mind,? along with a handful of collaborators, including Lenny Kravitz and a cameo from Chuck D.

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2020-12-16
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Jewel - You Were Meant For Me

Jewel is a singer-songwriter from Homer, Alaska, who?s received four Grammy nominations and sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Her debut album, Pieces of You, came out in 1995, and a 25th anniversary edition was released in November 2020. That album contains the hit song "You Were Meant for Me," but it turns out it wasn?t a runaway success?not at first. In this episode, Jewel traces the history of making ?You Were Meant For Me,? starting with the demo, and moving through all the different versions that were made along the way.

songexploder.net/jewel

2020-12-02
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Billie Eilish - Everything I Wanted

Billie Eilish started releasing music when she was 14 years old. Her debut album came out last year, when she was 17. It debuted at Number 1 on Billboard, went triple platinum, and won five Grammys. Billie made that record with her brother and creative partner, producer Finneas O?Connell, in their parents? house in Highland Park, Los Angeles. 

While working on that album, they also started writing this song, ?Everything I Wanted,? which came out as a single in November 2019. It was Billie?s second top ten hit, and it went double platinum, too. In this episode, you?ll hear some of the original voice memos Billie and Finneas made while writing, and the two of them explain why the song was almost never finished.

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2020-11-18
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Re-issue: Phoebe Bridgers - Scott Street

This episode is a little different. It?s a re-issue of Phoebe Bridgers? Song Exploder episode from January 2019, along with a brand new segment where she and I talk about dealing with writer?s block.

Phoebe Bridgers is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. In September 2017, she released her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. One of the breakout songs from that album was ?Scott Street,? a song Phoebe co-wrote with her drummer, Marshall Vore. Coming up first in this episode, Phoebe and Marshall break down how that song went from an unfinished cassette recording, to an acoustic demo, and then finally to the album version.

And then, after that, after you hear "Scott Street" in its entirety, Phoebe and I talk about writer?s block: what causes it for her, and how?s she?s dealt with it. So stick around after the full song to hear that conversation.

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2020-11-11
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Deftones - Ohms

Deftones are a Grammy-winning band from Sacramento who?ve sold over ten million albums. Their ninth album, Ohms, came out this year, on September 25th, 2020. In this episode, singer Chino Moreno breaks down how the title track came together, and how they literally went back to where things started in order to create it.

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2020-11-04
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Run the Jewels - JU$T

Rapper Killer Mike and rapper/producer El-P first met in 2011. They both had established rap careers, but they entered a new era when they started making music together as Run the Jewels in 2013. They?ve been nominated for a Grammy, and they released their fourth album, RTJ4, in June 2020. Like all of their albums, they made it available to download for free. In this episode, El-P and Killer Mike break down the song "JU$T," which features guest vocals from their frequent collaborator, Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, and guest vocals from Pharrell Williams.

songexploder.net/run-the-jewels

2020-10-21
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Dua Lipa - Levitating

Dua Lipa is a Grammy-winning singer and songwriter from London. Her second album, Future Nostalgia, came out in March 2020. It hit #1 on the charts in thirteen countries, and it was shortlisted for the UK?s Mercury Prize.

Dua co-wrote the song "Levitating" with some of her closest collaborators, including producer Stephen Kozmeniuk, AKA Koz. In this episode, Dua and Koz break down ?Levitating? and how Dua?s childhood memories shaped its sound.

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2020-10-07
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Selena Gomez - Lose You to Love Me

Selena Gomez is a singer, songwriter, and actress, who?s spent most of her life in the public eye. She started her acting career as a child, and put out her first albums as a teenager. She?s had three number one albums and eight Top 10 hits, and in 2017, Billboard named her Woman of the Year. At one point, she was the most followed person on Instagram, and the details of her life are constantly discussed in tabloid headlines.

So, when your private life is that public, how do you write a song about something as personal as heartbreak? Selena teamed up with the Grammy-winning production duo Mattman & Robin, who she?d worked with before. And she turned to her longtime songwriting collaborators, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. Julia Michaels is also a Grammy-nominated artist in her own right, and Justin Tranter, also a Grammy nominee, was named BMI?s 2017 Pop Songwriter of the Year. The three of them have written 10 songs together, including this one, ?Lose You to Love Me.? The song came out in October 2019, and went on to become Selena?s first number-one hit. It went double-platinum in the US, and was named one of the best songs of the year by Vulture and Billboard. In this episode, Selena, Julia and Justin break down how the song came to be, from the first writing session to the final production touches from Finneas.

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2020-09-23
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Reissue: Ludwig Göransson - Black Panther

On August 28, 2020, actor Chadwick Boseman died. He was only 43 years old. Unbeknownst to many, even some of his closest collaborators, he?d been battling colon cancer since 2016. His family released a statement, and in it, they said, "It was the honor of his career to bring King T?Challa to life in Black Panther." After hearing the news, I went back and re-watched the movie, and I don?t know, it was a completely different experience this time. I went and listened to the score again, and that had changed for me, too. So, I wanted to back and share this episode from 2018, about a piece of the film?s score by composer Ludwig Göransson. It?s one of my favorites, and since it first aired, Ludwig went on to win the Grammy and Oscar for the Black Panther score.

I hope you enjoy this re-visiting this episode, and I hope it makes you remember how great Black Panther is, and how great Chadwick Boseman is in it, in a role that defined a career that was way too short.

· · · 
Marvel?s Black Panther was released in theaters on February 16, 2018, and in just a few weeks, it made over a billion dollars worldwide. It?s already broken some box office records and it looks like it?s going to break some more. The score for the film was created by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson. His film and tv credits include Creed and New Girl. He?s also Grammy-nominated producer, who?s worked most often with rapper Childish Gambino. In this episode, Ludwig takes apart one of his pieces from Black Panther. The track is called "Killmonger," and it?s the theme for Erik Killmonger, a character played by Michael B. Jordan. Black Panther is set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, and coming up, Ludwig tells the story of doing research and making recordings in Africa, and how he incorporated that into the score for the film.

For more, visit songexploder.net/black-panther

2020-09-16
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Kelly Lee Owens - On

Kelly Lee Owens is an electronic music producer and songwriter originally from Wales. She?s released two critically acclaimed albums and done remixes for Björk and St. Vincent. Her most recent album is is called Inner Song. It came out in August, following what Kelly described as the hardest three years of her life. In this episode, she takes apart her song "On," and explains how its tone and shifts mirrored her journey processing her own trauma.

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2020-09-09
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Black Pumas - Colors

Black Pumas formed in Austin, Texas in 2017, when singer Eric Burton met producer Adrian Quesada. Their self-titled debut was released in June 2019, and got them a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. In this episode, they break down their hit song ?Colors,? which Eric started writing ten years ago, when he was first learning how to play guitar.

songexploder.net/black-pumas

2020-08-26
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The 1975 - The Birthday Party

The 1975 are a band from Manchester, England, made up of Matty Healy, Adam Hann, Ross MacDonald, and George Daniel. They started playing music together in 2002, when they were teenagers. Since then, they?ve released four albums, won three Brit awards, and gotten two Grammy nominations. Their most recent album, Notes on a Conditional Form, came out in May 2020. In this episode, Matty and George break down how they made the song ?The Birthday Party.?

songexploder.net/the-1975

2020-08-12
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Waxahatchee - Fire

Katie Crutchfield is a singer and songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. She?s been making music under the name Waxahatchee since 2010. Her fifth album, Saint Cloud, came out this past March. Pitchfork named it Best New Music, and The Guardian called it the best album of the year so far. In this episode, Katie breaks down how she made the song ?Fire."

songexploder.net/waxahatchee

2020-07-29
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Khruangbin - So We Won't Forget

Khruangbin is a band from Houston, Texas, who first formed in 2010. NME called them the "low key superstars" of psychedelic music. They?ve released three albums. The most recent, which came out in June 2020, is called Mordechai.

In the past, most of Khruangbin?s songs have been instrumental, or if they did have vocals, they'd be minimal. Their new album is different. It features vocals prominently, and in this episode, the three of them explain their philosophy on vocals and their process on writing lyrics. I spoke to each of them to get their perspective on how they made the song "So We Won?t Forget."

songexploder.net/khruangbin

2020-07-15
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Apparat - Goodbye (Theme from "Dark")

The Netflix original series Dark debuted in December 2017. It?s a really mysterious, mind-bending German science fiction show with a unique tone. A big part of that tone is announced every episode with the music in the show?s opening title sequence. It?s the song ?Goodbye,? by German electronic artist Apparat, the solo project of Sascha Ring. This song actually came out years ago, on the 2011 Apparat album The Devil?s Walk. Since then, before it was used as the theme song for Dark, it?s been featured in a bunch of films and commercials, and notably, in the Season 4 finale of Breaking Bad. The final season of Dark just came out last week, so I wanted to find out how the show?s theme music was made. ?Goodbye? features vocals from Anja Plaschg, an Austrian artist who makes music under the name Soap&Skin. In this episode, Sascha and Anja break down how the song was created.

songexploder.net/apparat

2020-07-01
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Mobb Deep - Shook Ones, Pt. II

The rappers Prodigy and Havoc met when they were still in high school in New York. Havoc grew up in Queensbridge, the biggest public housing projects in the country, and as a teenager, Prodigy lived there for a while, too. The two of them formed Mobb Deep in 1991.

In 1995, they put out their second album, The Infamous. It was a success when it came out, but in the 25 years since then, the influence of the album has only grown. Complex named it one of the 10 best rap albums of the 90s, and Pitchfork gave the album a rare perfect score, 10 out of 10. The Washington Post called it a ?masterpiece? of hardcore rap, and in Slate, it was called one of the best albums of the ?90s, and one of the best hip-hop albums ever made.

Their biggest song from the album was ?Shook Ones, Pt. II.? Havoc made the now-legendary beat that he and Prodigy rap over. To celebrate the 25th anniversary, Havoc told me the story of how the whole song came together. Prodigy passed away in 2017, from complications due to sickle-cell anemia, a debilitating disease he?d battled his entire life. But the legacy of Mobb Deep lives on. A new, expanded, 25th anniversary edition of The Infamous just came out in April.

songexploder.net/mobb-deep

2020-06-17
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Reissue: Michael Kiwanuka - Black Man in a White World

Instead of a new episode this week, revisiting this episode originally published in May 2017. Please consider donating to local and national organizations engaged in the work of racial equality. Here are some links:

American Civil Liberties Union

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Community Bail Funds

Michael Kiwanuka is a singer/songwriter from London. His second album, Love and Hate, came out in 2016, and was named one of the Best Albums of the Year from the BBC, NME, The Guardian, GQ, and more. One of the songs on the album was used as the theme for the hit HBO series Big Little Lies. In this episode, Michael breaks down the song "Black Man in a White World."

songexploder.net/michael-kiwanuka

2020-06-04
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100 gecs - Money Machine

100 gecs is a duo, made up of Laura Les and Dylan Brady. In 2016, they put out an EP called 100 gecs, and three years later, they released their first album, called 1000 gecs. It was named the Best Album of 2019 in Vice and in The New York Times. It was also on year-end lists in Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum and more. Dylan lives in Los Angeles, and Laura in Chicago?they work remotely, sending files back and forth to each other. In this episode, the two of them break down how they made the song "Money Machine."

songexploder.net/100-gecs

2020-05-20
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Laura Marling - Song for Our Daughter

Laura Marling is a singer and songwriter from London. She won the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist?she?s been nominated five times for that, along with the Mercury Prize, and the Grammy for Best Folk Album. Since 2008, she?s released seven albums. The most recent album is called Song for Our Daughter. It?s also the name of the song that she takes apart in this episode.

songexploder.net/laura-marling

2020-05-06
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Tame Impala - It Might Be Time

Tame Impala is the project of Kevin Parker, a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Perth, Australia. Since putting his first EP in 2008, Tame Impala has been nominated for two Grammys and won eight of Australia?s ARIA Awards. Multiple albums of his have been named best of the year. As a producer, he has collaborated with Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, The Weeknd, and more. The most recent Tame Impala album is The Slow Rush, which came out in February 2020. For this episode, Kevin chose to take apart the song, "It Might Be Time."

songexploder.net/tame-impala

2020-04-22
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FKA twigs - Mirrored Heart

FKA twigs is a singer, songwriter, and producer from London. She?s released three EPs and two albums. Her most album, Magdalene, came out in November, 2019, and was named one of the best albums of the year by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Time, NME, and more.

For this episode, twigs chose the song "Mirrored Heart" from Magdalene. She wrote and produced it in Los Angeles with a few collaborators, but it?s an intensely personal song.

songexploder.net/fka-twigs

2020-04-08
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Nathaniel Rateliff - And It's Still Alright

Nathaniel Rateliff is a singer and songwriter from Colorado. He?s released four solo albums, and two with his band, the Night Sweats.

Those two Night Sweats albums were produced by Richard Swift, who passed away in 2018. In a statement, his family said that he "suffered from alcohol addiction, and it?s ultimately what took his life." Nathaniel Rateliff?s new solo album, And It?s Still Alright, was supposed to be produced by Richard Swift as well, but Richard died before they could work together again. In this episode, Nathaniel breaks down the title track, which was inspired by his own complicated relationship with alcohol, and by his friendship with Richard Swift.

songexploder.net/nathaniel-rateliff

2020-03-25
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Eric Nam - Love Die Young

Eric Nam is a Korean-American pop singer from Atlanta. He?s currently lives in Seoul, South Korea, where he found fame as a K-pop star. He was named ?2016 Man of the Year? by GQ Korea, and Forbes named him one of their ?30 under 30 Asia.?

But his success in Korea has been complicated a little by what he wanted to do with his career versus what he felt he was allowed to do. As his career as an artist has evolved, he?s gotten closer and closer to making the music he wants to make. In November 2019, Eric released Before We Begin ? his first album entirely in English. In this episode, Eric Nam and producer Rabitt break down a song from that album called ?Love Die Young.?

songexploder.net/eric-nam

2020-03-11
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Soccer Mommy - Circle the Drain

Sophie Allison makes music under the name Soccer Mommy. Her debut album came out in 2018, when she was 20 years old, and the New York Times named it one of the best album of the year. Her second album, Color Theory, comes out this week, and it includes this song, "Circle the Drain." In this episode, she takes "Circle the Drain" apart and explains how it was influenced by songs from her childhood.

songexploder.net/soccer-mommy

2020-02-26
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Caribou - Home

Dan Snaith has been making Caribou records since 2001. He won Canada?s Polaris music prize in 2007, and this month, he?s releasing the seventh Caribou album, Suddenly.

In this episode, Dan breaks down the song ?Home.? He talks about how he managed to get past several moments of creative uncertainty to figure out the final track.

songexploder.net/caribou

2020-02-12
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Vagabon - Water Me Down

When Laetitia Tamko started making the second Vagabon album, she really wanted to produce the entire thing on her own. It would be a new sound, and producing was still a relatively new skill to her, but she wanted to tackle it head on, and do it all herself. On this song, though, "Water Me Down," Laetitia actually has a co-producer, Eric Littman. It?s the one exception to her otherwise entirely self-produced album. In this episode, she breaks down how she and Eric made the song, and why it was worth making that exception.

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2020-01-29
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Semisonic - Closing Time

The song ?Closing Time? by the American rock band Semisonic came out in March 1998. It hit #1 on the Alternative charts, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song. It gets played in stadiums, Weird Al covered it, and it?s the last song of the night in countless bars.

Since then, Dan Wilson, the lead singer and songwriter of Semisonic, has become a powerhouse songwriter who has written or co-written for artists like John Legend and Taylor Swift. And he?s won Grammys for his songwriting with the Dixie Chicks and Adele. But over two decades ago, Dan and his bandmates John Munson and Jacob Slichter were in Minneapolis, getting ready to start work on their second album, Feeling Strangely Fine. In this episode of Song Exploder, Dan breaks down how that process led to "Closing Time."

songexploder.net/semisonic

2020-01-15
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Vampire Weekend - Harmony Hall

The band Vampire Weekend started in 2006, in New York. Their third album came out in 2013, and was named one of the best albums of the year all over the place, and it won a Grammy. But it took six years for their next album, Father of the Bride, to come out. This album?s also been nominated for a Grammy, for album of the year. And the lead single from it, ?Harmony Hall,? was nominated for Best Rock Song.

In this episode, Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend takes ?Harmony Hall? apart. I spoke to him along with producer Ariel Rechtshaid, and the two of them detailed winding path the song went down, over several years, before it finally took shape.

songexploder.net/vampire-weekend

2019-12-25
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Intro Theme and Thao's Farewell

Thao Nguyen has been guest hosting Song Exploder this year, with Christian Koons producing, to give Hrishikesh a little room to daydream. That?s all been possible because of the support of Radiotopia listeners. In this bonus episode, Thao says goodbye, and we break down the intro music that Hrishi made to go with Thao?s time as guest host. Thanks to everyone who has listened this year. If you?d like to support the future of the podcast, you can donate to Radiotopia. You can help make new things possible for the podcast. Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.

2019-12-17
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Meek Mill - Trauma

Meek Mill is a rapper from Philadelphia. He?s put out five albums. His most recent, Championships, debuted at #1 on the charts, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album.

Back in 2007, He was arrested on a gun charge at the age of 19, and over the last eleven years, he was sent to prison four times for parole violations. But in July 2019, based on evidence of alleged police corruption, the Pennsylvania Superior Court threw out his conviction, and the parole violation that had led to his most recent time in prison, a five-month sentence.

It was soon after Meek Mill was released that this song, ?Trauma,? was created. He took inspiration from his experiences in prison, and his early life in Philadelphia.

In this episode, Meek Mill and Don Cannon, who produced the track, break down how the whole thing came together.

songexploder.net/meek-mill

Right now, Radiotopia is holding its annual fundraiser. You can help support Song Exploder and the network that makes it possible. Make your mark. Go to Radiotopia.fm to donate today.

2019-12-11
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Bat for Lashes - Kids in the Dark

Natasha Khan makes music under the name Bat for Lashes. She?s released five albums, including Lost Girls, which came out in September 2019.

In this episode, she breaks down the making of the lead single from that album, called ?Kids in the Dark.? But just before she started writing it, she wasn't sure if she would make another album at all.

songexploder.net/bat-for-lashes

Right now, Radiotopia is holding its annual fundraiser. You can help support Song Exploder and the network that makes it possible. Make your mark. Go to Radiotopia.fm to donate today.

2019-11-27
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Jay Som - Tenderness

Melina Duterte goes by the name Jay Som. She?s a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. She?s released three albums as Jay Som, and has produced, engineered, and mixed each one.

Her third album, Anak Ko, came out in August 2019. And in this episode, Melina breaks down a song from it called ?Tenderness.?

songexploder.net/jay-som

2019-11-13
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Slipknot - Unsainted

Slipknot is a Grammy-winning metal band from Des Moines, Iowa, who first formed in 1995. They?ve sold over 30 million records. In this episode, guitarist Jim Root breaks down how Slipknot made the song, ?Unsainted,? from their 2019 album We Are Not Your Kind.

songexploder.net/slipknot

2019-10-30
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Raphael Saadiq - Kings Fall

Raphael Saadiq is a Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, and artist from Oakland, California. He was the lead singer of the legendary ?90s R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone!. As a producer, he?s worked with D?Angelo, TLC, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Solange Knowles, and John Legend.

In August 2019, Raphael released his fifth solo album, Jimmy Lee, which is named for his late older brother. In this episode, he breaks down a song from he made with his nephew, Dylan Wiggins, called ?Kings Fall.?

songexploder.net/raphael-saadiq

2019-10-16
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Clairo - Alewife

Claire Cotrill is a singer, songwriter, and producer who goes by the name Clairo. She started releasing music in 2014 as a teenager. A few years later, songs she had uploaded to YouTube had racked up over 40 million views. This year, Clairo put out her debut album, Immunity. She?s recently performed on Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel, and played arenas, opening for Khalid. In this episode, Clairo breaks down her song ?Alewife.? I spoke to Claire and her co-producer Rostam Batmanglij about how the song was made.

songexploder.net/clairo

2019-10-02
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Brittany Howard - Stay High

Brittany Howard is the guitarist and lead singer of the four-time Grammy-winning band Alabama Shakes. This month, she?s releasing her first solo album, called Jaime. In this episode, Brittany breaks down the song ?Stay High,? which was the album?s first single. She started working on it while staying at a house in Topanga Canyon, near LA.

songexploder.net/brittany-howard

2019-09-18
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Robyn - Honey

Robyn is a Swedish singer and songwriter. Her first album came out in 1995, when she was 16 years old. It went platinum in the US, double-platinum in Sweden. Since then, she?s been nominated for five Grammys and started her own record label. But there was an eight-year gap between Robyn?s album Body Talk, which came out in 2010, and her most recent album, Honey, which came out last October. Time, Rolling Stone, and Pitchfork all named it one of the best albums of the year.

For Song Exploder, Robyn breaks down the song ?Honey,? the title track from that album. The first time the public heard the song was in a 2017 episode of the HBO show Girls, but that?s not the final version that was released on the album. In this episode, Robyn traces the long history of how she made ?Honey,? a song that The New York Times called ?her masterpiece.?

songexploder.net/robyn

2019-09-04
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Bon Iver - Holyfields,

Justin Vernon founded the band Bon Iver in 2006. Bon Iver?s released four albums, and won two Grammys, including Best New Artist.

The most recent album, i,i, came out in August 2019, and in this episode, Justin breaks down a song from it called ?Holyfields,.? He?s joined by producers Chris Messina and Brad Cook. We spoke to him in July, from his studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where the song started. They finished it at Sonic Ranch studio, in Tornillo, Texas, on the border of the US and Mexico.

songexploder.net/bon-iver

2019-08-21
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Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here

Sleater-Kinney was formed in 1994 by Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. Drummer Janet Weiss was a member of the band from 1997 until 2019. In Time Magazine in 2001, author and critic Greil Marcus named Sleater-Kinney ?America?s Best Band.? Over the years, they?ve made nine albums, including this year?s The Center Won?t Hold, which was produced by Annie Clark of St. Vincent. In this episode, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein break down how the song ?The Future Is Here? was made.

songexploder.net/sleater-kinney

2019-08-07
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Denzel Curry - RICKY

Denzel Curry is a rapper from Miami. He started his career at age 16 as part of the hip hop collective Raider Klan. He released his first solo album while still in high school.

In May 2019 Denzel released his fourth album, ZUU. He made it with the Australian production duo FnZ, who have been collaborating with him since 2016. The album was named Best New Music by Pitchfork, and Denzel made his TV debut on The Tonight Show.

songexploder.net/denzel-curry

2019-07-24
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Jamila Woods - BALDWIN

Jamila Woods is a singer, songwriter, and poet from Chicago. She?s released two albums, and she?s collaborated with artists like Chance the Rapper, Noname, and Macklemore.

In May 2019, she put out her second album, LEGACY! LEGACY!, to critical acclaim. NME called it one of the albums of the year, Rolling Stone called it a ?revelation,? and Pitchfork named it ?Best New Music.?

In this episode, Jamila and her producer Slot-A break down a song from that album, called ?BALDWIN,? named after the late author and civil rights activist James Baldwin.

songexploder.net/jamila-woods

2019-07-10
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Big Thief - Cattails

Big Thief is a four piece folk-rock band from Brooklyn, New York. In May 2019, they released their third album, U.F.O.F., to critical acclaim. Pitchfork named it ?Best New Music.?

In this episode, singer Adrianne Lenker and drummer James Krivchenia break down a song from that album called ?Cattails.?

songexploder.net/big-thief

2019-06-26
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Sheryl Crow - Redemption Day (feat. Johnny Cash)

Sheryl Crow is a singer-songwriter from Missouri. She?s released ten studio albums, sold over 50 million records, and has won nine Grammys.

In April 2019, Sheryl Crow released a new version of her song ?Redemption Day,? which was first released on her self-titled album in 1996. This new version features vocals from Johnny Cash, who recorded a cover of the song that was released posthumously in 2010. And in this episode, Sheryl Crow breaks down how it all came together.

songexploder.net/sheryl-crow

2019-06-12
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Raleigh Ritchie - Time in a Tree

Raleigh Ritchie is the musical alias of Jacob Anderson, a musician and actor who?s probably best known for playing the character Grey Worm on Game of Thrones.

Raleigh Ritchie released his first album in 2016, and he?s put out a handful of EPs. In September 2018, he put out the single, ?Time in a Tree.? He made the song with Grammy-nominated producer Daniel Traynor, aka Grades. In this episode, the two of them take apart ?Time in a Tree? to explain how it came together, and how it was influenced by classic Hollywood movies, Billy Joel, and overwhelming anxiety.

songexploder.net/raleigh-ritchie

2019-05-29
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The Mountain Goats - Cadaver Sniffing Dog

John Darnielle has been writing and recording songs as the Mountain Goats since 1991. He?s released 17 studio albums, and also written two books of fiction.

In April 2019, the Mountain Goats released the album In League with Dragons, and in this episode, John Darnielle breaks down a song from it, called Cadaver-Sniffing Dog. We?ll hear his original demo, and then, hear how the song evolved at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, with the help of John?s band, some incredible session musicians, and producer Owen Pallett.

songexploder.net/the-mountain-goats

2019-05-15
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The Cranberries - All Over Now

The Cranberries formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989. Singer Dolores O?Riordan joined a year later, and the group went on to become one of the defining bands on the ?90s, eventually selling over 40 million records worldwide.

In January 2018, while the band was working on their eighth album, Dolores O?Riordan passed away unexpectedly. Later that year, remaining members Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler announced that they would end the band, and that this would be their final album. It's called In The End.

It was released in April 2019, and in this episode, guitarist and songwriter Noel Hogan breaks down a song from it called ?All Over Now.? You?ll hear how Hogan and O?Riordan first started the song, and how the remaining members worked to finish it without her.

songexploder.net/the-cranberries

2019-05-01
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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